SENIOR clinicians, local health and social care leaders, and patient representatives from across the region met today to discuss how to plan for the future of the NHS.
The meeting, which was part of the South East Midlands Acute Services Review, considered how hospitals and community health services across Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Kettering can work more closely together.
This area covers around 1.6 million people, who are served by five district general hospitals including Bedford Hospital, Milton Keynes Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital.
Speaking before the meeting, Dr Nicholas Hicks, director of public health at NHS Milton Keynes, said: “Our priority in this review is to build on and further improve the quality of services for the people across the region.
“It is about discussing how we can ensure that the health service is in the best possible position to tackle the current and future challenges of an increasing and ageing population and rising levels of chronic disease, such as diabetes.
“People also rightly have increasing expectations of the health service and we want them to benefit from advances in medicine and technology.
He added: “The review will look at how we can support people to access health care closer to home as well as considering how best to deliver hospital services so that patients receive the best outcomes possible.
“We are clear however that each hospital will continue to provide a wide range of health services for their local population.
“Today marks the start of an ongoing dialogue with health partners and the public to assess how we can face up to the current challenges and ensure patients in the South East Midlands get the safest, best value and highest quality services possible.”